Parliament’s approval of Financial Bill will impact pledges, say MDP

The parliament has today approved a Financial Bill including an amendment which declares that government can only lease a state asset or could borrow money from a foreign country under specific legislation approved by parliament.

The bill was approved 41 in favour to 33 against out of 75 members present.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed said he regretted the bill had been passed and that he was “very concerned” over its approval.

”All the services that MDP has planned to provide for the people will be disrupted according to this bill,” said Nasheed.

”Right now there is a hung parliament and it is very difficult to bring out and sufficient results from it.”

Nasheed said that responsibility for the country’s financial condition was the duty of the President and the Finance Ministry, according to the constitution.

”The Bill was not approved in the best interests of the country,” he added. ”I regret the approved amendments [governing privatisation].”

Spokesperson for MDP Ahmed Haleem said the bill was approved according to “the self-interest of two or three businessmen in parliament.”

”This bill will obstruct the public and private partnership policy of the government,” said Haleem. ”It was not passed for the benefit of the people of the country.”

However, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom said that the government was required to govern the country “according to how its people wish.”

”The parliament represents the people,” Dr Mausoom said, ”and according to the bill, the government will now need the approval of the parliament when leasing state assets or taking loans from other countries.”

Dr Mausoom said the parliament “belongs to the people” and would only make decisions “for the benefit of the people.”

”I do not see any article in the bill that disrupts the government’s pledges,” he said. ”Privatising Male’ International Airport was not a pledge of the government.”

A senior government official Minivan News spoke to during the privatisation signing ceremony accused the opposition “of running a scorched earth policy to deny the government any chance of improving the country. It’s so short sighted – what do they hope to inherit if they gain power in the next election?”